The End of the Day Old Fashioned

I suppose for historical record I should clarify that I now live in Washington, DC, a bittersweet state of affairs given that much of the inspiration for these posts has come from New York – its markets and restaurants, bars and bistros, food trucks and counter delis.  Simply put, there’s no better place to eat. There’s no better place think about eating.  There’s no better place to think about eating, and then eat it, and then use that as  inspiration to exercise your amateur right to get creative domestically.  I’ll miss it terribly.  But I have a backlog of entries from 507 W. 111th St., so for a few posts at least New York is alive and well.

One of the many perks of NYC living was living with a roommate who was at one point living with a mixologist.  She had indispensable advice about where to eat and drink and an indispensable ability to make a mean Old-Fashioned.  Or two.

Roommatey conversational fuel

We shared quite a few of these drinks this year, winding down after work, low light of the lamp in the living room, served with a how’d your day go or a what are you up to this weekend.  Sometimes it was just ice clinking in a glass and laughs from the Daily Show.  Every time it was a sweet, strong sip, a slow evening crawl before the rush of the 2 train to the Bronx early the next day.

This is a simple enough drink, as its title would imply.  But the craft is in the technique, igniting the oils of an orange rind for a citrusy splash and a little preparational flare.  Rest assured this is not my handiwork:

Old Fashioned Technique from Mike Wolking on Vimeo.


  • One orange, wash the rind under cold water
  • 2-3 sugar cubes
  • A few dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Your favorite bourbon


1. Place the sugar cubes in a glass and dash with bitters.

2. Mash the sugar and orange with a muddle to release the acids in orange peel and mix everything up all tasty-like and delicious.

I didn’t know what a muddle was until I lived in NYC.

3. Add a few ice cubes to what is hopefully a short tumbler, and if you’re serious about this, get an old fashioned glass.

4. Add bourbon about to about three-quarters the level of the ice cubes.  This should probably be a more exact calculation, but art is more fun than science. 5.  Now it’s time to make the magic happen.  You should have seen it in the video above, but you want to quickly light the squeezed orange peel, drawing out a sweet acidic residue, and then rub that peel on the edges of your glass before dropping it in the drink. The aroma is fabulous.

Have I ever actually done this? No. I had the resident expert take care of it.

But now that I’m on my own in DC it’s time to try.


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